How to get from Cancun to Chichen Itza (excursions and free)

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One of the most popular tours from Cancun is the excursion to Chichen Itzá. And all this I will explain in this post in a simple and practical way.

If you are organizing a trip to the Riviera Maya I recommend that you start by seeing the Guide with tips and unmissable places in the Riviera Maya (especially my recommendations will take you to incredible places, blog style, which are often not the best known and I was exploring in my trip around the area). Surely if you’re based in Cancun, you’ll want to do some excursions beyond staying at the hotel. I think the four classic excursions from Cancun would be to go to Isla Mujeres, visit Playa del Carmen, get to the archaeological ruins by the sea in Tulum, and the one that concerns us in this post, visit the ruins of Chichen Itza.

How to get to Chichen Itza.

If you want to see images, attractions and impressions of my time in Chichen Itza, I recommend you follow the link above. The distance from Cancun is 197 kilometers, and is about two hours and ten minutes of driving.

Ways to go to Chichen Itzá

By car and on your own. A good option, especially if we travel in groups of more than two people, families, or groups of friends, is to do so by rental car. I’m going to leave you an option for car rental:

>> Rent a car from the blog. This link takes them to an internal blog search engine that works under the tutelage of Rentalcars. From the blog we already manage more than 1,000 car reservations (*) made by our readers. These search engines show us in results the prices ordered from the cheapest in the best known agencies. By the way, on the blog there is also a post with tips for renting a car in Cancun.

Extra recommendation: on the way to Chichen Itzá for free you can make some pauses on the way. I especially recommend getting to know the magical town of Valladolid, a city where there are also some cenotes in the surroundings where you can take a dip.

Is it safe to drive? The Yucatan landscape is extremely flat. So there won’t be a lot of bends on the way, much less unevenness. This is a somewhat monotonous road as it is just through a lot of jungle and some small villages, or parts of the road where there are many stalls selling handicrafts and local products. Let’s not forget that it will be a route very usually crossed by tourists. If they refer to more security-related risks, the truth is that they are more than quiet and risk-free routes. And hundreds if not thousands of rental cars and tourists pass by every day. My only recommendation is to go at speeds rather prudent, since being a jungle area can cross some animals.

>> Organized excursion. Of course there are several options to go to Chichen Itza on an organized excursion. This is a guided tour with transportation included, which picks us up at the hotel to take us on a full day tour. Normally these tours can include other stops along the way, such as a visit to the magical town of Valladolid, a bath in a cenote, or even visits to other archaeological ruins. Here are some links to supervised excursions through the Civitatis website. Click to see all the details:

Base excursion to Chichen Itzá

Excursion to Chichen Itzá and Cenote Maya

Excursion to Chichen Itza and Tulum (in two days)

Excursion to Chichen Itzá and Ek Balam in one day.

Linked excursions are with guides in Spanish. On the other hand they will be asked if it is convenient to book online or to contract in the same place. The truth is that if it is low season, it is difficult that there is no availability when buying the excursion directly in Cancun. In any case it is about the comfort of securing the place, or buying in agencies and tours in which we can verify user comments and score.

>> To Chichen Itzá by bus (Public Transport). This is another possible option. In the website of ADO (one of the private transport companies most present in the Riviera Maya) you can consult the schedules from Cancun to Chichen Itza. In fact I finish the consultation and I have a schedule in the morning at 8:30 to go to the ruins. And for the return, another time at 16:30. I can not give more details since in my case I did it by organized tour. But I imagine that if we are willing to be all those hours in Chichen, it is not such a bad plan, calculating that the trip is about two hours we will arrive at an estimate of 11 am to the archaeological site, and we will have about five hours to tour it. But let’s not forget that we could also take it easy, eat at the restaurant within the complex of the ruins (it’s expensive, as you might expect) or just rest in the shade, as there are wooded areas.

>> Guided visit inside Chichen Itzá. If you are travelling on your own, either by rental car or bus, or by taxi, you may want to hire a guide to visit the ruins. It is a way to travel in an orderly manner and obtain valuable information (and in Spanish) on our visit. In these excursions a meeting point is agreed, usually in the access to the ruins. There is also the option of securing a private guide (for an individual, couple, family or group of friends, but making sure not to go with strangers in the group). If on the other hand we don’t want a guide and we leave for free, an alternative is to use some app with information, like

>> Stay near Chichen Itzá. In my opinion, one of the best options may be to spend the night in Valladolid. This magical town is almost a step away from Chichen Itza. This will allow us not to get up so early to arrive early (the schedule is from 8:00 to 17:00 hours), but also enjoy an authentic Mexican city, with a great history and very picturesque to do some nightlife or just rest. Here you can find accommodation in Valladolid

(*) The services you can hire from the blog work with the affiliate system, and are recommendations that have no extra cost to our readers.

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